What a fabulous day, Kelly and I had on our fieldtrip. Once again, I got to join her class as we spent most of our day outside at the Savage Environmental Center. This has become an annual school event, in which the entire school (K-6) leaves school for the day to attend this event. We leave at 10:00 and return around 2:00. There are many, many events going on the whole time. Each grade follows their own schedule of events, so there is no overlapping and these activities are geared for each grade level.
Since the kids I help are in 6th grade, our first activity was to identify macro-invertabrates that are in the water. The group leader had scooped buckets of water out of the local pond that we were near and she had spoons and eye-droppers that the kids could use to catch the organisms and place them into see through containers. Once in the containers, they clip them to a hand-held microscope to get an up-close look at these creatures. They found mosquito larvae, snails, worms and even a bug named a backswimmer. This bug was fun to watch, because yes, it swam backwards! ha~ They had a chart to look at and find the names to go along with what they found. It was pretty neat and kind of gross to see what actually lives in pond water. I wouldn’t want to do any swimming in there.
Their next activity was to test this pond water. They needed to test for the pH balance of the water, the temperature and the acidity. This time, they could take a jar over to the pond and fill it up themselves. You should’ve seen how excited sixth graders get when they have the chance to lean over a dock and scoop up water. Luckily no one fell in, but it was hilarious to see all these bodies laying there.
Our next event, took us away from the pond and into a “pretend” toxic waste area. This was more of a “movement” and group activity. The kids were placed in groups of four and were told that there had been an oil spill with toxic chemicals that are killing the animals. Their job was to figure out how to get to the spill without getting the waste on themselves (touching the grass) and then saving the animals without hurting them. They were given plastic dots to walk on and a pole to reach the animals. First group to figure out how to get their animals to safety wins. It was fun to watch them try and work together to figure this out. It wasn’t easy and I think many ducks, snakes, and other wildlife did perish in the activity. ha! They also did an activity in which they needed to clean up nuclear waste by getting these metal pipes into their buckets and over to a safety zone without letting their buckets tip. Again, a great group activity that they really had fun doing together.
After that, we stopped for lunch and to recharge ourselves. It was a very hot day with temperatures around 87 degrees and no shade. I was very impressed with this group of kids. They never complained once and just had fun.
Their last event of the day was to find plant life living around the pond. So we headed back over to the water and used our sheets that had the names of some plant-life on it, to help identify what we were looking at or trying to find. The kids I was working with were starting to get bored and really hot, so we wandered over a bit, and I challenged them to find things in the water. They saw lots of dragonflies, a couple of fish, and I found a turtle sitting up on a stick. It’s always fun to see what’s out there. What a great fieldtrip and a perfect way to spend a Friday…out in nature and enjoying our surroundings.